The Origin and Meaning of the North Carolina Nicknames
The American citizens who live in, or who come from North Carolina, are referred to as North Carolinians. The history, origin and meaning of each of the nicknames are as follows:
The Tar Heel State
The official nickname of the Tar Heel State alludes to the tar, pitch, and turpentine, created from the enormous pine forests, that were one of North Carolina's most important exports early in the state's history. The nickname has been used as both a derogatory and an affectionate term for many years. The above picture of a 'Tar Heel' is taken from a postcard. The following poem was also printed on the card:
"Here's to the land of the Long Leaf Pine
The Summer land where the sun doth shine
Where the Weak grow Strong
And the Strong grow Great
Here's to North Carolina the good Old Tar Heel State"
The Old North State
The Old North nickname refer to the time in history, during the early 1700's, when the territory was split into northern and southern Carolina - the Old North was the affectionate name given in memory of this turbulent time in history.
The Turpentine State
The Turpentine alludes to the extensive production of turpentine. Turps is a thin essential oil obtained from the wood of pine trees and used as a thinner for paints and varnishes.
The Land of the Sky
The Land of the Sky is the name of an 1896 book by American author Frances Fisher Tieran (1864-1920), whose pen name was Christian Reid. The Fisher family was rich but the Civil War (1861-1865) caused the family to lose much of their money and Frances started to write to earn extra money. Her story tells of travelers in western North Carolina and the name was a perfect link to the rise of tourism in the area.